Kids are always on the run, even in the family kitchen. From breakfast to after-school snacks to family-style dinners, kids are a big part of any kitchen space. Families with kids need a kitchen that caters to both the smallest members of the family and the busy parents who take care of them. But some kitchens are less than child-friendly; dangerous corners, sharp kitchen tools, and furnishings designed for adults can make many families long for a complete kitchen overhaul. Kitchen remodeling makes sense when issues of kid safety and comfort are at the forefront. When considering kitchen design, it makes sense to include a kid-friendly layout as well as child-oriented seating, appliances, and accommodations in every area.
The layout of the family kitchen can be particularly important when small children are in the vicinity. With an open kitchen layout, parents can prepare dinner while keeping an eye on their little ones in an adjacent living room or play area. A kitchen island provides a central work area that allows parents meal preparation space without having to turn their backs on the kids. A kitchen sink placed near a window to the backyard allows a clear view of outdoor play areas and activities.
With the right layout, even a small kitchen can become a multifunctional area that caters to the busiest of families. With the addition of built-in breakfast nooks, counter-height stools, or comfy overstuffed chairs, a kitchen can function more like a family room and serve as an all-purpose space where kids, adults, and friends can talk, cook, lounge, and interact. Allowing the whole family to be together while meals are prepared means more time for both kids and adults to unwind, connect, and relax.
Accessibility and Child-Proofing
Many parents find that dangerous kitchen tools, such as sharp knives, are best removed from small children’s reach, and seek solutions for child-proofing that work to protect kids without sacrificing functionality for adults. A magnetic knife rack on the wall above a counter can help keep shiny, attractive cutlery out of the reach of little ones, and can double as a storage area for vegetable peelers, shears, pizza cutters, and other sharp metallic tools.
For larger or non-metallic accessories that could be dangerous to smaller kids, like choppers or cheese graters, a large cabinet drawer can be designated as a child-proof storage space and fitted with a child-proof lock.
On the flip side, building a kitchen that emphasizes what kids can access might be as important as child-proofing certain areas. Built-in armoires and butler’s pantries can be designed with lower counters and accessible pull-out drawers to create an area for children to work on creative recipes and learn kitchen skills. Kid-friendly mixing bowls and utensils placed in an easy-to-reach area of the kitchen will put the focus on what kids can do to help, and may even encourage a life-long love of cooking and baking.
Durable, Easy-to-Clean Cabinets and Countertops
As any parent knows, spills, crumbs, and other messes are a part of having kids in the house. When considering kitchen design, non-staining kitchen surfaces that can be wiped down quickly are a big plus for parents. Quartz and quartz-like countertops are low-maintenance options that allow for both beauty and functionality; these nonporous materials are highly resistant to stains, scratches, and heat, and bring elegance and style to any kitchen. Laminate countertops are also easy to wipe down, providing a clean, modern look t hat’s perfect for budget-conscious families.
With small children constantly moving in the kitchen area, the shape of countertop edges is also important to consider. Many different edge options are offered for stone countertops, but for families with kids, rounded countertop edges are best and can help avoid injuries and snags from sharp corners. Countertops can even be tiered on an island or peninsula, allowing a higher, just-out-of-reach work area for parents while still offering lower-level spaces that are perfect for kids.
Easy-to-clean cabinet fronts are also a bonus, both when toddlers are near and when older children begin trying out their skills in the kitchen. High-gloss or lacquered cabinet finishes provide a durable, high-quality look while also being moisture- and stain-resistant. Flat slab cabinetry provides a smooth, no-crevice surface and is a cinch to clean.
For an even easier cleaning option, families can consider cabinets that sit on furniture-style feet, raising storage space and work areas off the floor. Raised cabinets make it easy to sweep, mop, or vacuum underneath while providing a sophisticated, furniture-style look for cabinetry.
Seating for the Whole Family
Child-friendly seating is a must for both family dinners and occasional snacking. A breakfast nook, built-in table, or counter-height bar stools at an island are big plusses when constructing a kid-friendly kitchen. Accessible seating that fits the way kids move is crucial for a welcoming, child-friendly space and gives kids a place to snack, do homework, or help prepare food at a level and height that is both fun and functional. A kitchen remodeling professional in Utica can help design a seating plan that creates a welcoming space for both children and adults.
Organization and Storage
One of the most important aspects to consider when designing a family kitchen is storage. Better storage options mean less counter clutter and cleaner surfaces. Vertical space can be maximized by choosing ceiling-height cabinetry. Empty wall space can be turned into valuable storage by installing a cabinet, butler’s pantry, or storage armoire. Pull-out pantry shelves can allow better access to stored items in the back and make it easier for kids to find favorite snacks and treats. Kitchen islands can nearly double storage space in smaller kitchens, leaving room for kid-size place-settings and utensils.
Color and Decor
Most kids love color; adding a dash of color to a kitchen remodeling plan with stylish pendant lamps, custom-color cabinets, or brightly-accented seating creates an attractive, fun space that’s naturally kid-inclusive. A favorite color or theme can be matched to other household decor to create a cohesive look and ease the transition from room to room.
A kitchen blackboard adds a fun yet functional element to kitchens that serve as household command centers. A blackboard makes it easy to keep running grocery lists, post reminders and to-do lists, and provide inspiration with daily quotes or notes.
More kitchen remodeling ideas are available from a kitchen remodeling professional in Utica. Professional remodelers can help create a stylish, yet kid-friendly, functional kitchen for the whole family to enjoy.